Cascarino: City's failure to sign a striker will cost them the title

Manchester City’s failure to sign a new striker ‘will cost them the title’, says Tony Cascarino after firing a blank in draw against Southampton and insists Pep Guardiola lacks a player who can ‘get them out of trouble’

  • Manchester City struggled to a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton on Saturday
  • The Premier League champions failed to sign Harry Kane from Spurs last month
  • Their lack of firepower will cost them in the title race, says Tony Cascarino  
  • The former Chelsea star believes a forward would ‘get them out of trouble’ 

Manchester City are being made to pay for their failure to sign a new striker in the title race, according to Tony Cascarino, after they fired a blank in their 0-0 draw against Southampton on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s men have had a stuttering start to the campaign so far, losing on the opening day to Tottenham before winning three in a row but seeing their run halted by the Saints at the Etihad.

City were interested in signing Spurs forward Harry Kane all summer long but a deal failed to materialise, with the Londoners holding out for around £150m, and the England skipper pledged his allegiance to the club for the remainder of the season.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (L) will be made to regret not signing a new striker, says Tony Cascarino (R)

The Premier League champions fired a blank against Southampton in a drab 0-0 draw 

Former Millwall, Aston Villa and Chelsea star Tony Cascarino believes that lack of guaranteed goals is ‘hurting’ the Premier League champions in their quest to retain the league crown, and feels they will live to regret their refusal to meet Tottenham’s steep valuation of Kane.

‘We can only make that judgement really at the end of the season, but I’ve said all along, if you were prepared to pay £100million and a bit more for Harry Kane… you definitely wanted a striker,’ he told talkSport. ‘You think you need one, because you made a bid for a striker that didn’t go over the line.

‘The fact that you didn’t get that striker, now “it’s not a problem”, but it was a problem. Pep recognised he needed a centre-forward of a certain type and I think by the end of the season it will cost City the title.

City went much of the entire of the last campaign without a recognised striker due to Sergio Aguero’s fitness problems, while Gabriel Jesus failed to show he was a worthy back up, so Guardiola often went for a false 9, with Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez chipping in with the goals instead.

The club pursued a big-money move for Harry Kane all summer but could not agree terms 

But this season – while City have enjoyed two 5-0 romps over Norwich and Arsenal – they have found it difficult to find the back of the net against more stubborn defences, and Cascarino feels they are sorely missing a star forward who can ‘make the difference’ when things are tight.

‘I think there will be games when a certain type of striker who can get you out of trouble, who can do things that not all your technically brilliant players can do, it’s something quite basic that enables you to make the difference in a certain type of game.

‘Yesterday [Saturday] was one of the examples that I think that are going to happen a few times during the course of the season.

‘I think it will hurt City.’

Things have not all been plain-sailing at all for City this season – not only are they facing a fierce battle to keep Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool from taking their title from them, there has also been a tense relationship between Guardiola and his own supporters.

Guardiola has a tough task to retain the title and has also had a run-in with his own supporters

After a disappointing attendance of 38,000 in their Champions League win over Leipzig at the Etihad, Guardiola called for more to turn up for the Southampton game, which City supporters’ group chief Kevin Parker called ‘uncalled for’ and told the former Barca boss to ‘stick to coaching’.

Guardiola refused to apologise for his comments and said he would consider stepping down if fans had a problem with him. 

‘Mr Parker should review the comments,’ Guardiola said. ‘I will not apologise to him, absolutely not. I’m not going to apologise for what I said. I love this club, I am part of this club, otherwise I would not be in my sixth season here. 

‘That is why I am so upset and grumpy and disappointed this guy pretends to tell me what I have to say and do. I know exactly what my intentions were. When people are not happy with me, I will leave. If I’m a problem with the fans, I’ll step aside.’

Up next for City is a third round Carabao Cup clash against Wycombe Wanderers before an epic title clash against rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

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